It’s easy to draw conclusions about Jesus based on those who say they follow him -without ever exploring what he said and did.
The Gospel of Mark was the first biography written about Jesus, recorded just a few decades after his death. It gathers under one cover some of the most amazing things Jesus said and did – and captures the impact Jesus had on the crowds who listened to him.
One of Mary Oliver’s poems is called “Instructions for Living a Life.” Here it is in its entirety:
Tell about it.
Astonishment is the consistent response to Jesus from beginning to end. There are eight different expressions for amazement or being astounded in Greek; Mark uses all eight of them.
In chapter one, at the start of his ministry, we’re told the people are amazed by the authority of his teaching and healings. At the end of his ministry we see the same: in chapter fifteen we learn Pilate was astonished by Jesus during his trial and in chapter sixteen the women are startled to discover an empty tomb. Astonishment is the thread that runs through Mark’s entire narrative.
In this sermon series we’ll explore some of the primary passages in Mark’s gospel where his words and his actions inspire awe and amazement. The first part of the series focuses on the amazing, miraculous, awe-inspiring things Jesus did. This culminates in the events of the last week of his life when he laid down his life for us and then rose again. The second half of the series focuses on the amazing, life-changing things Jesus said.
When we see his amazing deeds and hear his amazing words, whether for the first time of the hundred-and-first, we, too, will be moved to wonder. Open Mark’s gospel with us, pay attention - and be astonished.